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Gels: New Developments

I am busy working on the next post for the on-axis light series for Monday. But I wanted to take a moment to bring you up to speed on some new gel-related stuff.

After the jump, two new small-flash-related gel items, and an "I Know a Guy" gel source so cool I almost wished I lived in LA.


Hold Everything: The LumiQuest FXtra Gel Holder

LumiQuest's Quest Couch would like to personally thank you guys for the free product development consulting, as he reports that the FXtra gel holder was developed "100 percent" due to input from this group.

He tweaked the design to fit most any speedlight other than the Vivitar 285 (which is not only very big but also has its own built-in gel slot) and added a few features that will probably make many of you happy.

First, it mounts to any flash using the (included) hook-and-loop fasteners, and passes the fastener through to the outside. That means that you can mount an FXtra to a flash and then mount another light mod on the outside of the FXtra.

Second, he included a pocket to store gels with the flash when you are not using them. It is almost as if he took a long hard look at the photo stuff strewn all over the floorboards of my car when we met for lunch a few months ago.

Last but not least, included with the FXtra is a selection of commonly used gels (and a few effect colors) cut to size:

• CTO (tungsten conversion)
• 1/2 CTO
• 1/4 CTO
• Plus Green (fluorescent conversion)
• Sky Blue
• Canary Yellow
• Fire Red

The gels are sized to extend past the holder to fit the larger flash heads (SB-26s, Canon 580s etc.) but can be trimmed to fit the SB-800s, -600s and other smaller flash heads.

FXtras are $19.95, and available at MPEX now and soon, everywhere. More info on the FXtra at

Simple Solution to a Sample Problem

A thousand people taking advantage of a sample program is a good thing. A quarter million people taking advantage of it is too much of a good thing.

It is exactly for that reason that the Rosco gel sample packs were in danger of going bye-bye just a short while ago. But rather than shut it down, they decided to address the issue directly and in an economically sustainable way.

The result is the Strobist Gel Pack, which is currently under development. They are speedlight sized, no holes and multiple copies of the gels we use most. There is a selection of standard color balancing gels, with some effect colors thrown in -- and none of the stuff we end usually up throwing away.

I have seen a prototype kit, and I'm stoked. I can't tell you how happy I am that Rosco has chosen to respond to the needs of small-flash shooters -- and solved the gel sample problem with smart thinking rather than an axe.

Mad props to Rosco for this solution. More info as it becomes available and I definitely will be first in line to buy some Strobist gel packs.

They Were Expendable

Several people came up to me at the recent LA lighting seminars and told me about "The Expendables Recycler," a very cool SoCal shop that buys leftover rolls of gels from movie sets and sells them at discount rates.

Typical savings are ~1/3 off of full retail, a price which is firmly supported by your local Theatre Supply monopoly. (They typically justify the full price by spelling it, "theatre" instead of "theater.")

BEFORE YOU COME CRASHING DOWN ON THIS PLACE, owner Todd Parker would like me to pass along a note that if you are just buying single 20x24" sheets to be shipped you are better off going to your local gel mafia supplier. But if you are getting gels in quantity (many sheets, full rolls, etc.) you'll definitely want to comparison shop.

He has lots of full rolls and partial rolls at decent discounts. And yes, I got myself a roll of Rosco #3008 Tough Frost diffusion material on the cheap before I told you about it. Heh.

UPDATE: Shipping costs are steep. If you are ordering via phone or mail, you'd better be prepared to bulk up if you want to save real money. But if you are local to SoCal, it's a no-brainer if you can pick up.

More info at The Expendables Recycler.


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